Yitzhak Arad: Lithuania wants to grill top Israeli historian over war crimes

Historians in the News

Lithuania wants to grill leading Israeli Holocaust historian Yitzhak Arad over his alleged role in war crimes against civilians and prisoners during World War II, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

"We have despatched a request to Israeli prosecutors for legal help,"
prosecutor Rimvydas Valentukevicius told AFP.

"We want to send Mr Arad a notice on our suspicions and to interrogate him in the framework of a preliminary probe on his possible participation in crimes against humanity in Lithuania during the Second World War," he said.

The 81-year-old Arad, who served as the director of Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Authority for 21 years, rejected the allegations in an interview to Poland’s Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

A probe launched in May 2006 showed that Arad, who was a member of the Soviet NKVD secret service, may have been involved in the killing of Lithuanian resistance figures at the end of World War II.

Lithaunian-born Arad, who was active in the underground movement before joining the Soviet partisans to fight the Germans, has rebuffed suggestions that he was guilty of the cold-blooded murder of civilians.

"I have never killed a civilian," he said. "It could have happened during battle but I have never killed a civilian or a prisoner of war in cold blood."

Arad said the allegations could be part of a vendetta campaign as he had painstakingly listed atrocities committed by Lithuanian collaborators.

But Lithuanian prosecutor Valentukevicius said suspicions against Arad are based on his own memoirs and documents provided by the Lithuanian Genocide and Resistance Research Center.
Read entire article at AFP

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